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Special Notices

October 24, 2014 update on the Proposed “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act”

On April 21, 2014, EPA and the Corps published the proposed rule “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act” in theFederal Register (79 FR 22188). The public comment for the proposed rule closes on November 14, 2014. The independent SAB has completed a peer review of the proposed rule’s primary supporting document, EPA’s draft report Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis. The peer review was drafted by the SAB’s Panel for the Review of the EPA Water Body Connectivity Report and approved by the chartered SAB. The final peer review has been placed as a supporting document in the docket for this proposed rulemaking and is available on the SAB’s website, http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabpeople.nsf/WebCommittees/BOARD

SAB Review of the Draft EPA Report Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence

For the Federal Register, go to:   http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-10-24/pdf/2014-25138.pdf

Agriculture's Exemptions and Exclusions from Clean Water Act Expanded by Proposal:

On March 25, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) jointly released a proposed rule to clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation's water resources.  The proposed rule will benefit businesses by increasing efficiency in determining coverage of the Clean Water Act.  The agencies are launching a robust outreach effort over the next 90 days, holding discussions around the country and gathering input needed to shape a final rule.

Additionally, EPA and the Army Corps have coordinated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop an interpretive rule to ensure that 53 specific conservation practices that protect or improve water quality will not be subject to Section 404 dredged or fill permitting requirements. The agencies will work together to implement these new exemptions and periodically review, and update USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation practice standards and activities that would qualify under the exemption. Any agriculture activity that does not result in the discharge of a pollutant to waters of the U.S. still does not require a permit.


Enforcement Action: On November 22, 2011, the USEPA signed a final consent agreement and order with 3-D Development, LLC assessing a Class I civil penalty of $6,750.00 under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for unauthorized work on a subdivision in College Station, Texas.  The work was discovered by the Regulatory Branch and referred to USEPA as a knowing and willful violation.  Concurrent processing of an after-the-fact permit was authorized by the USEPA and the Regulatory Branch authorized the project on August 19, 2011.

The Regulatory Program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) plays a critical role in the protection of the nation's aquatic ecosystem and navigation.  Important elements of the program implemented by the USACE under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 include conducting jurisdictional determinations for wetlands and other waters of the United States and navigable waters of the United States; evaluating applications for individual and general permits for activities in these jurisdictional areas; ensuring compliance of issued permits; and enforcing requirements of the law for unpermitted activities.  The USACE works closely with other federal, state, and local natural resource agencies and the public in exercising these responsibilities. Fort Worth District Regulatory Branch handouts provide guidance, procedures, and recommendations for submittals to the USACE and assist applicants with complying with Regulatory Program requirements.

Waters of the United States include navigable waters and may include other parts of the surface water tributary system down to the smallest of streams (e.g., tributary that only contains water after a rain event), lakes, ponds, or other water bodies on those streams, and adjacent wetlands (e.g. sloughs, swamps, and some seasonally flooded areas) if they meet certain criteria.  Isolated waters such as playa lakes, prairie potholes, old river scars, cutoff sloughs, and abandoned construction and mining pits may also be waters of the United States if they meet certain criteria.  An important point is that waters of the United States include areas that are man-made, or man-induced, as well as natural. Activities that occur in waters of the U.S. that require a permit may include, but are not limited to, shoreline and bank stabilization; boat ramps; roads; residential and commerical developments; utilities; flood control facilities; mining; oil, gas and water wells; and in some cases dredging and other excavation.

Regulatory Automated Tools System (RATS)
Regulatory's Automated
Tools System (RATS)

The animal depicted on this page is a regulatory swamp rat, Oryzomys regulatorius. It is the ultimate wetland specialist, at home in the playa lakes of west Texas as well as the big thicket in east Texas. Much like the Regulatory staff, it is a hardy and resourceful species that adapts to the situation.

Contact Information

Regulatory Division
Fort Worth District (Map)
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
819 Taylor Street, Room 3A37
P.O. Box 17300
Fort Worth, Texas 76102-0300

Phone: (817) 886-1731
Fax: (817) 886-6493